Rwanda Genocide

In just 100 days in 1984 some 800,000 innocent people were brutally murdered all because there racial ethnicity was Tutsi. To Hutus and Tutsi conflict between them was not new in any means, they had been against each other for many years. The Tutsi were given much more power in Rwanda while the Hutus weren’t given the same opportunities as Tutsi. Then however the Hutus became the oppressor to the Tutsi and started mass killings of Tutsi. The Rwanda Genocide just like any other Genocide in a sense it was brutal and took hundreds of thousand of lives. However each Genocide is significant and important. We can’t only learn from one Genocide and think we know the conditions in which something so awful could occur. We need to learn from many if not all and see what happened and how it started.

A man be classified as Hutu,Tutsi, or Twa

The hutus and tutsis were divided mainly by the Belgian and German colonial leaders in order to order to strengthen their control. Which separated them based on nose ridge and eye color to decide who was the superior race. The tutsis had features that were seen more “white” so Belgium and germany found they were the superior race and gave them political power even though the Tutsis were only 14% of the population. The Hutus, who make up about 85% of Rwanda’s population, were denied higher education, land ownership and positions in government. By the 1950’s resentment grew by the Hutus and the Tutsis who wanted to be more independent. when WWII came to an end the Tutsis became much more impatient and more aggressive for their independence. This caused the colonial rulers to fear that their rule was coming to an end, they thought giving more power to the Hutus would mean that they would remain in power longer.

The then president of Rwanda Gregoire Kayibanda

In 1959, however the Hutus overthrew the Tutsi monarchy, the Hutus declared an independent republic and elected president Greg Wa Kayibanda. Mass killings of Tutsis happened during the the transition to Hutu rule. Even though the Hutus were oppressed by identity classification and racial oppression they kept the same system so they could use it against the Tutsis. After this tens of thousands of Tutsis fled Rwanda to neighboring countries. A rebel group formed called the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), they invaded Rwanda in 1990, fighting continued for 3 years till a peace deal was agreed. On the 6th of April 1994 a plane was shot down while carrying former president Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, they were both Hutus. Hutu extremists blamed the RPF and right after started the well-organized campaign or mass murder. The RPF says that the plane was shot down by the Hutus for an excuse for the Slaughter of the Tutsis.

Lists of government opponents were handed out to militias and all their family members. Neighbors killed neighbors, friends killed friends, and even some men killed their Tutsi wives. Many who did these things said that if they refused they would be killed. They set up roadblocks to check everyone's ID cards which listed there ethnic group so Tutsis were slaughtered, often with machetes which many People owned. The United Nations (UN) had troops there along with Belgium but the UN was not given a mandate to stop the brutal killings. The Belgium and most UN troops left after 10 Belgian soldiers killed. The French however sent a force to set up a safe zone but were accused of not doing enough to stop fighting they were even accused of of taking part in the genocide.

ID card that listed their ethnic group

The then governing party MRND had a youth group that turned into a group that carried out many slaughters. Hit lists were handed out to local groups that had access to the people on the list. Meaning they had access to kill all the people on the list, it was a more effective way to kill more tutsis. Hutu extremists used hate propaganda to dehumanise the tutsis, this made it easier for people to actively search out tutsis and brutally take away countless lives. They used media outlets like newspaper and radio. They even broadcasted the tutsis on the kill lists over the radio so everyone that heard knew that they should kill them for the “better” of rwanda.

RPF backed up with uganda’s army gradually seized more territory in an effort to try and stop the genocide, until july 4th when its forces marched into capital Kigali. About 2 thousand Hutus which some were involved with the genocide then fled into DJ Congo, at that time it was called Zaire. It is said that the RPF killed thousands Hutu civilians while taking power, the RPF denies human rights groups accusations. The genocide of Rwanda didn’t just affect Rwanda but caused to distinct decades of unrest in DJ Congo, this unrest has cost an estimated 5 million lives. The rwandan government has invaded DJ Congo twice now, making accusations of letting the Hutu militias operate on its territory.

Regional effects of Rwanda Genocide

Rwanda now is runned by president Paul Kagame, he has been hailed for overseeing rapid economic growth. He has tried to turn Rwanda into a technical hub. However people say that he could be leading Rwanda into the same path. It is illegal to talk about ethnicity in Rwanda, the government says its to prevent to bloodshed but some say it prevents real recollection and keeps them from moving on as a country and that it will only boil over again.

In just 100 days in 1984 some 800,000 innocent people were brutally murdered all because there racial ethnicity was Tutsi. Throughout the story of the Rwandan Genocide you see a sequence of hate and in a sense revenge, the oppressed became the oppressor. To Hutus and Tutsi conflict between them was not new in any means, they had been against each other for many years. The Tutsi were given much more power in Rwanda while the Hutus weren’t given the same opportunities as Tutsi. Then however the Hutus became the oppressor to the Tutsi and started mass killings of Tutsi. The Rwanda Genocide just like any other Genocide in the sense that it was brutal and took hundreds of thousand of lives. However each Genocide is significant and important. We can’t only learn from one Genocide and think we know the conditions in which something so awful could occur. We need to learn from many if not all and see what happened and how it started

The now president of Rwanda Paul Kagame

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